Wednesday, November 27, 2013

New PARMA Artist: Jeffrey Jacob

We at PARMA are thrilled to announce the addition of pianist/composer Jeffrey Jacob to PARMA's growing roster of talented artists. PARMA will be releasing a full disc of orchestral and chamber music composed and party performed by Jeffrey, including a PARMA recorded piece for string quartet.

Described by the Warsaw Music Journal as “unquestionably one of the greatest performers of 20th century music,” Jeffrey has major recording and production credits under his belt and we are looking forward to getting into the studio with him and his music - Keep an eye out for Jeffrey's debut with PARMA Recordings in 2014.

Monday, November 25, 2013

NUGGETS! Meltingly Hot Music From Freezing Cold New Hampshire

This week, dreams of drumsticks, visions of venison, mashed potato mirages, and other affiliated food fantasies hang thick - there's butter in the air. So I'll briefly break away from cross-referencing mincemeat pie recipes to call attention to another set of particular delights that deserve your attention.

Here are my Thanksgiving picks of albums from the PARMA catalog that make for great listening whether you are stuffing, or being stuffed, or both:

Ecco La Musica
MORNING MOON (Big Round / Released 2012)

Refined yet exuberant, nuanced yet direct, impeccably recorded, and immaculately performed. This album never leaves my rotation in part due to the music's uncanny ability to be both beautiful and fun, as suitable for a warm summer day as a crisp fall night.

Samuel Adler
(Navona / Released 2012)

A massive, 3-hour digital-only collection of works by one of the most respected and influential living composers in modern music. Don't let his prolific nature fool you - each and every measure in these works is carefully wrought and brilliantly rendered. Check out the "Duo Sonata" to hear Adler and his interpreters at their collective finest.

Ketty Nez
THRESHOLDS (Ravello / Released 2013)

A kaleidoscopic, massively gutsy piano concerto which casts music genres, their history, and their inter-relationships into a new, unique light. Nez utilizes a huge range of compositional languages and techniques to say what we here at PARMA like to say - music is music. Live recording of the Boston University Wind Ensemble with the composer at the piano.

Lisa Miles
NALADA (Ravello / Released 2011)

A fearless fusion of new music styles informed by a punk ethos and a highly distinctive sonic palette. From the disorienting, hypnotic "Medieval Love Song" to the coy, coquettish "Folie a'deux," Miles adeptly sets her own instrument as both subject and relief, and in the process creates mood music of the highest order.

Mark Vigil 
THE PALEST ROSE (Ravello / Released 2012)

Inviting, inventive chamber music that is simultaneously smart and tart in conception and witty in presentation. Vigil's writing is challenging but always fun, and his style and sound carries across whatever instrumentation he's writing for, be it chorus or harp or gamelan. I keep coming back to those Fantasies for piano though... the second is a burner.

Have a great holiday, and don't forget to brine.

Bob Lord
CEO, PARMA Recordings

Friday, November 22, 2013

Svjetlana Bukvich recieves prestigious NYFA Fellowship

Congratulations are due to PARMA Recordings artist Svjetlana Bukvich, who was recently honored with a prestigious Artist's Fellowship award from the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA). Svjetlana will be releasing her latest project, EVOLUTION, on our Big Round Records label imprint in 2014.

The NYFA's Fellowship Program was started in 1985 and has since provided over $27 million in cash grants to New York artists at critical stages in their careers. Svjetlana was selected as a Fellow in the Music/Sound category from a cross-disciplinary applicant pool of 2,922 artists across New York state. Please join us in congratulating Svjetlana on receiving this distinct honor!

To view the full list of this year's NYFA fellows and to learn more, visit:

To learn more about Svjetlana and her music, visit:

2013 PARMA Anthology of Music

"So classical music is dead, huh? Tell that to the outstanding, inspiring, talented, and very much alive composers who were selected for this year’s PARMA Anthology." PARMA CEO Bob Lord

In light of Bob's words, PARMA Recordings is pleased to announce the release of the 2013 PARMA Anthology of Music, which features nine works for string quartet and one work for solo violin by ten contemporary composers.

These ten original pieces, chosen from submissions in the 2013 Student Composer Competition, represent new music by up and coming composers. These compositions showcase the innovation and forward-thinking ethos of today's young composers.

The 2013 PARMA Anthology of Music provides downloadable scores and parts, as well as interactive viewable scores, composer biographies, and program notes. The 2013 PARMA Anthology of Music is a great resource for musicians, composers, and scholars alike to access some of the most recent work in classical music.

The 2013 PARMA Anthology of Music includes the following composers and works:  

  • Miguel Angel Bezanilla Naranjo | Sollicitudo for string quartet
  • David Biedenbender | Surface Tension for string quartet
  • Nikolet Burzyńska | Kango for solo violin
  • Kai-Young Chan | Ignis Fatuus for string quartet 
  • Melody Eötvös | Olbers Dance in the Dark for string quartet
  • J.M Gerraughty | Unquiet for string quartet 
  • Anthony Green | Chance for string quartet
  • Joel Love | Lux for string quartet
  • Tina Tallon | selective defrosting for string quartet 
  • Zackery Wilson | A Soul Still Yearns for string quartet

Branding In Music

There has always been the existence of branding in music.  Take the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, AC/DC, and Dream Theater for example, just to name a few.  By manipulating the typography and incorporating other elements of design into their names, they have created logo marks that visually present themselves in an extremely cohesive and consistent manner.

Creating an identity doesn't even have to be extremely elaborate, it can be as simple as a unique font or layout of design elements. With recurring clients and artists with multiple releases, we try to take these elements and ideas into account to give their releases a consistent look.  If you look at Sergio Cervetti's NAZCA AND OTHER WORKS, KEYBOARD3, and WIND DEVIL & CO., you can easily see the consistency through the treatment of his name.  Through typeface, placement, and subtle manipulation of the letters, we have created a distinctive logo mark that can easily be recognized and related back to his music. This same principle was also applied to Yves Ramette's name in his CASCADING INTO THE REVERIE and WITH PASSION.

Another slightly different example of branding in our design work can be seen in Joseph Summer's SHAKESPEARE CONCERT SERIES.  For each release, we have kept the same layout and typefaces, and have also kept a similar color scheme throughout to keep the albums tied together visually.  Looking at SHAKESPEARE'S MEMORY and THE FAIR OPHELIA, one can easily see they belong together.

The use of visual identity and branding has many levels of importance.  Consistent representation can greatly increase recognition among consumers and fans, and even gives a stronger sense of legitimacy, which can lead to higher confidence in the music and artist.  Although the quality of music carries great importance regarding an artist or album's success, being instantly recognized across all platforms through consistency in design carries almost as much weight.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Benjamin Britten Centennial

As many of you may know, the late English composer, conductor and pianist Benjamin Britten's (1913-1976) centennial birthday is approaching this Friday.  Britten was a largely influential 20th century composer who wrote various works for opera, chamber, vocal, and orchestral music - some of the most famous being "The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra" and the "War Requiem."

To celebrate his 100th birthday the Britten-Pears Foundation launched the "Britten 100" at the Royal College of Music's Britten Theatre, the British Library unveiled a "Music of Benjamin Britten" exhibit, the Royal Mint unveiled a 50 cent piece featuring Britten (the first ever composer on mint), and performances of his works have happened at Carnagie Hall, the Metropolitan Opera, and the Los Angeles Opera.

To commemorate this influential composer's life's work, we have shared a work of Benjamin's that is in the PARMA catalog from the 2011 release SPREZZATURA.  Below, listen to "Lachrymae. Op. 48" performed by Shelly Tramposh (viola) and Cullan Bryant (piano).

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

November Releases on Navona and Ravello Records

Today Navona and Ravello Records release five PARMA-produced projects: THE FAIR OPHELIA, FOUR QUARTETS OF SONGS & ARIAS, ICE & FIRE, STRANGE FLOWERS, and AN EVOLVING CYCLE. Click "Read more" for information about the releases, sound samples, and links to the catalog page.

PARMA Licensing and Music Supervisor/Producer Dave Hnatiuk Announce Live Orchestral Music Collaboration

Music supervisor/producer Dave Hnatiuk, co-founder of MusicSupervisionCentral, and boutique audio production and licensing house PARMA Licensing are pleased to announce a collaboration to create and produce live orchestral cues and packages for the nation’s top news, sports, and lifestyle programming.

“Dave was the ideal partner for this venture,” says PARMA Licensing’s Managing Director Jake Weinreb. “He truly helped shape the landscape of the modern sync industry, and I could tell in our first conversation that we were operating on the same creative wavelength. I believe that the combination of his background and talents, with our production experience and expertise will yield game-changing results.”

The partnership is a first for both Hnatiuk and PARMA.  Each brings a successful track record in composition, audio production, and strategic placement of live ensemble music in media.

“Live ensemble music is a rare commodity in today’s media market,” explained Dave Hnatiuk. “Though MIDI has come a long way, nothing can ever truly match the power and emotion of real players, behind real instruments. This is what inspired me to team up with PARMA – I believe this is an overlooked hole in the market that we’re uniquely positioned to fill.”

Hnatiuk is the co-founder of, an essential industry resource and the sister site for the book Music Supervision (Schirmer Trade Books), the #1 ranked text on the topic.  He began his career as a music supervisor at ABC, later going to do the same for NBC, Fox, MTV, and others.  In 1998, Hnatiuk launched the music department of the Fox News Channel, producing and placing music across the network for staple series The O’Reilly Factor, The Fox Report, and more.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Now on Netflix: Defiant Requiem

In the Czech Republic, not far from where PARMA produces many recording sessions, the inmates of the Nazi concentration camp Terezin came together in a rebellion using creativity, with only art and music as their defense.  As the day-to-day fight for survival weighed them down to near death, they embraced the power of music as a connective force between them, holding each other up in a buoyant web of collective survival.  

By using art and music, the inmate choir took a defiant stand against the captors and their atrocious nature.

The film DEFIANT REQUIEM brings this heart-breaking and beautiful story to life by focusing on one emblematic occurrence in the artistic uprising - the performance of Verdi's Requiem by 150 inmates, conducted by conductor Rafael Schachter, also an inmate.  Eventually, the imprisoned choir would perform the powerful Requiem, (a daunting task in and of itself), face to face in front of the Nazis.  What the officers didn't know, however, was that Schachter, and others, had re-created portions of the piece to condemn the Nazi party.

DEFIANT REQUIEM recreates this powerful moment in history with conductor Murry Sidlin bringing his life-long goal of bring the Verdi's beloved piece back to Terezin in a live performance.  The result is touching and powerful, and not to be missed.  The film features PARMA recording partner The Kuhn Choir in many of the film's powerful reenactment scenes.  

Friday, November 15, 2013

Fall 2013 Sessions

The Fall has been a busy time for PARMA, as we recorded many composers works both here in New England and abroad in the Czech Republic. Here at home, we worked in both Boston and Rockport, MA, recording the works of Syd Hodkinson, Scott Pender, Sergio Cervetti, and Mitch Hampton.

As I attended each session, I got the chance to document everything that was going on besides the music itself. In addition to that fantastic music being created and captured, there are often many small moments that help to make a great recording session, well, a great recording session. Check out some of the photos below to see the proof!

Inspiration in Design

When we need fresh new design ideas and inspiration it can be helpful to view what others have done.

Here is one of my favorite sites to browse when we need some designspiration.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

New PARMA Artist: Gerald Cohen

PARMA is pleased to welcome New York-based composer Gerald Cohen to our growing family of artists. PARMA will be releasing a full album of arrangments and original compositions by Cohen featuring performances by NYC's Grneta Ensemble in 2014.

Cohen's music has been commissioned by groups as varied as the Cassatt String Quartet, the New York Virtuoso Singers, and the Battery Dance Company, and his works have been performed by noted groups such as the San Diego Symphony and Princeton Pro Musica. This current project, aptly titled SEA OF REEDS, focuses on chamber works featuring the clarinet and features compositions and arrangements that seek to unite Cohen's often intersecting musical lives and both a composer and a cantor. Be sure to watch this space for more updates on the project in the coming months!

To learn more about Gerald Cohen and his music be sure to visit his website and SoundCloud page:

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

New PARMA Project: Ricardo Zohn-Muldoon & David Liptak

We are pleased to announce that Rochester NY based composers Ricardo Zohn-Muldoon and David Liptak have teamed up to release a split album with PARMA Recordings.

This will be Ricardo's debut with PARMA and David's second effort after being featured on the McCormick Percussion Group's CONCERTI FOR STRINGS WITH PERCUSSION ORCHESTRA that came out last year.

This new full length release will feature 6 tracks (3 composed by each composer) and highly acclaimed soprano Jamie Jordan, featured on the to-be-released McCormick Percussion Group's SOLI FOR SOPRANO WITH PERCUSSION ORCHESTRA.

We are looking forward to this diverse and multi-dimensional release and are excited to welcome Ricardo to the PARMA family.  Keep an eye out for updates on this project in the coming months.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Sparking Creativity

Herbert Deutsch's FROM MOOG TO MAC
In the design department at PARMA Recordings, people often wonder where all of our creativity springs from. We are often asked where the unique concepts for our covers come from. The real question might not necessarily be where we find our ideas, but instead, how.  The true origin of inspiration could have to do more with an individual person’s approach.  Have you ever thought that the best approach when you are stumped may be just to simply walk away?

This article, Tactics to Spark Creativity, showcases how even people who lack ideas can set the scene for inspiration.

New PARMA Artist: Jean-Philippe Grégoire

PARMA is pleased to announce the addition of jazz guitarist and composer Jean-Philippe Grégoire to our growing family of artists.

Jean-Philippe will be releasing his first album as a leader, SOUNDS FROM THE DELTA, in early 2014 on Big Round Records. The album will feature Grégoire's quartet consisting of Baptiste Herbin (saxophones), Martin Guimbellot (bass), and Nicolas Charlier (drums). The album will also feature special guest performances by Jean-Charles Richard, Manu Codjia, and Laurent Fickelson.

A relative newcomer to the American jazz scene, Jean-Philippe has worked as a sideman on many albums in his native France including with groups led by
Julian Getreau and Denis Shain. PARMA is proud to be adding Mr. Grégoire and his hard-hitting compositional style to Big Round's growing roster of artists. Watch this space in early 2014 for more info!

Listen to a track from Jean-Philippe's upcoming album:

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Tuning Systems

Open Well-Tempered Clavier

Kimiko Ishizaka and the Open Goldberg team have less than 3 days remaining in their Kickstarter campaign to record and release Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier into the public domain.

If you haven't been following the project, the team is focused on converting the Well-Tempered Clavier and over 50,000 other scores into Braille for musicians of different ability.  This is an important and ground-breaking project that will help musicians all over the globe.  Make sure to check out the campaign over the next few days to learn more about this unique project.

Tuning Systems

We have been getting some inquiries as to what :"Well-Tempered" actually means - below, you can find some information on various tuning systems and their history.

Just Intonation
Before there was a standardized tuning system, players used Just Intonation to tune relative to other musicians and their instruments.

Just Intonation is based off of the harmonic series and naturally sounds pleasing to our ears. Intervals (the distance between notes) are measured using ratios.  An excellent example is when two voices harmonize, the frequencies of the pitches being sung are adapted in real-time to create a pleasing and pure interval relationship. Since interval ratios in Just Intonation are not uniform, this type of tuning system does not meet the demands of modulating music. With fixed-pitch instruments, such as keyboard instruments, pitches cannot be adjusted practically during a performance. Therefore, in order to modulate, freely tempered systems came into place.

Well Temperament
The "Well Tempered" tuning system is referred to by J.S. Bach in his title for "The Well-Tempered Clavier" (Das Wohltemperierte Klavier).

Bach’s method of tuning a keyboard was a huge step towards today’s tuning system. Tempered tuning makes small adjustments to the intervals between notes in such a way that it is possible to harmonize music without sounding overly dissonant in certain keys or when modulating.

Bach's "Well-Tempered Clavier" was written to show off the musical possibilities of this revolutionary tuning technique - where the keyboard was in tune across all keys.

Equal Temperament
Fast forwarding to Western music today, most instruments are tuned using Equal Temperament. The earliest specific mathematical reference to equal temperament came in 1577 from Francisco Salinas, but wasn't standardized until the Early Romantic era.

Equal Temperament relies on math to determine frequencies of pitches.  An octave is thus divided into a series of evenly spaced half steps calculated to share the same interval ratio. Therefor in Equal Temperament, each interval is slightly out of tune and the octave remains the only "pure" interval.  This means that a chord played on a piano or guitar will not be as pleasing as the same chord using Just Intonation, but it will be consistent and free to modulate.

It is important to note that many cultures and some Western composers (such as Lou Harrison) use “Just” tuning systems because of its unique tonal qualities.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Album Artwork: Not Just Art for Art's Sake

It is easy to think that all it takes to create engaging album artwork is just finding the perfect image and adding some typography.  In truth, of course, there is so much more involved in the process than initially meets the eye. The overall image has to be well thought-out and connect conceptually with the music, title of the release, and the individual taste of the artist.  The album artwork isn’t just art for art’s sake; it comes from an attentive thought process and investigation of the music, concept, and overall atmosphere of the album. 

There are many elements that we consider to help manipulate the overall mood of the artwork.  Color, texture, shape, proportion and contrast can either subtly or drastically alter the mood of an image.  The cover artwork for Tony R. Clef’s TUESDAY AFTERNOON on Big Round Records utilizes several of these factors to not only create a distinct and vibrant cover, but also generate a strong sentimental response.  Accentuating the saturation and vibrancy of the colors, layering a large transparent circular sun, and adding a distressed texture make the image anything but ordinary, and give true feeling to the overall album.  Looking at the album, one can strongly grasp the nostalgic feeling of a warm late afternoon in summer, which greater intensifies the overall experience of the music.